Hive – A.J. Betts – The Vault #1 – Pan Australia – Published 26 June 2018




Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known.

Until she witnesses the impossible: a drip from the ceiling.

A drip? It doesn’t make sense.

Yet she hears it, catches it. Tastes it.

Curiosity is a hook.

What starts as a drip leads to a lie, a death, a boy, a beast, and too many awful questions.

My thoughts

Hive is a unique dystopian story. Intricately crafted, the world beautifully written, this gentle and compelling story is just the start of an exciting two-book series. The narrator, alongside the reader, knows only of the day-to-day rhythm of life and the stories she has been told. As she questions, explores and discovers scant details, she, and the reader, learns there is far more to the world than she could have expected.

Hayley is a beekeeper. It is her job to tend the Hive, just one of the gardeners in the gardener house, one of the six houses, that rely on water from the source and follow the patterns set out by the generations before them. But Hayley has a secret, one that has her questioning everything around and soon the walls of her world seem to hem her in. But will questioning provide the answers she is looking for?

Hive is not action heavy. Instead it relies on gentle storytelling and Hayley’s curiosity to drive the plot. A little slow at times, the ending gives away a few details about the state of the world that made me eager to read on. Hive is the first book in a duology. It felt very much like just the beginning of the story and I hope the second book will make things so much more interesting and clearer. I recommend having the second book on hand when starting Hive, especially when the ending is such a surprise and so abrupt.

The construction of Hayley’s world, told to the reader through Hayley’s eyes, is so detailed and beautifully crafted. The descriptions are beautiful but I loved how it remains true to Hayley’s voice and her knowledge. It also means that the reader only knows what Hayley knows, and so the details about her world and how it came to be are few. More is revealed at the end but I’m sure the second book will expand on these unknown entities.

Hive – a new and unique voice is YA Australian dystopian fiction, perfect for readers looking for something just a little bit different.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Science Fiction – Dystopian

Themes: Community, society, future, animals, bees, friendship, population control.

Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.

Advisory: Frequent sexual references to ‘marriage’, though the main character remains unaware of what this entails. One scene in preparation for ‘marriage’ with some details about physical examination.

Published: 26 June 2018 by Pan Australia.

Format: Paperback, ebook. 272 pages.


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